Big timeThe big news coming out of Hurricanes headquarters yesterday was the reveal that redshirt freshman QB Jarren Williams has won the offseason QB battle and would start the opener against the Florida Gators in two weeks. As someone that had a big hand in that decision, Miami offensive coordinator/QB coach Dan Enos wen in depth on what separated Williams from a competitive pack.
“He showed the best ability to throw the football and be a passer,” Enos said. “He showed the ability to, at times, be an elite passer, an elite thrower with great accuracy, great touch and shows very good arm strength when he needs to.
“There’s throwers and passers, and there’s a big difference - Jarren showed the ability to be a passer, change speeds, change arm angles, showed touch, arm strength when he needed to. They all did that, but Jarren did that the most consistently. And when we’ve scrimmaged and a guy was out there for an extended period of time, we felt he moved the ball the best through the course of spring and fall camp. That pushed him over the edge. He did a nice job limiting his turnovers and those kind of things.”
While Williams’ second scrimmage performance was what ultimately helped push him over the edge, Enos admits that he had already been leaning towards Williams beforehand.
“It was the exclamation point,” Enos said of Williams' scrimmage performance. “Things had been trending that way in my mind for the last week. When players start to get it, it happens at different times, but for Jarren, he is starting to get it. I saw a guy that is really, really good in the pocket. We have a tremendous pass rush and defense and blitz packages, so our quarterbacks are challenged every single day.
“I have challenged them to maintain your eyes and focus and get the ball out and that is hard to do when you have the amount of stuff that they see every day. I think Jarren showed the ability to negotiate the pocket and find the guys on third down and in the team periods. He looked comfortable and he looked instinctive. He was making accurate throws and he showed the ability to stay very poised.”
An area of Williams game that has improved since last season has been his mobility both inside and outside the pocket, and it’s something that Enos noticed this fall.
“He also showed the ability to run a little bit, which I didn’t know he had in him,” Enos said. “He’s several times clocked over 20 MPH which is good for a guy his size. This past scrimmage, he took off and ran for a big play one time, also showed the ability to extend plays in the pocket, keep his eyes down the field and make plays. He’s a very instinctive player. The more he plays, the better he’s going to get.”
Another aspect of Jarren’s game that helped him to secure the starting role was his coachability.
“I am kind of hard on my guys,” Enos admitted. “I coach them all hard and that didn’t really phase Jarren. I think he kind of likes it to be honest with you. I think he wants to be great and he wants to be pushed. He is not a finished product and he has a lot of work to do, but certainly he will continue to work and stay hungry. I think we will see a guy that will continue to develop and get better and better as the year goes on.”
“Jarren gives our team the best chance to win,” Enos said. “If he can make routine plays, we’ll be fine.”
Speaking more on the process of the decision, Enos noted that each of the QB’s proved they could play in his offense, and that picking one was especially difficult.
“We started evaluating them early, they all had their moments, all improved dramatically,” Enos said. “I think it was a very, very close competition. They all have a tremendous amount of respect for one another… It’s very difficult to make these decisions, but you obviously have to do it. It was very emotional for all of them.”
With the starting QB set for August 24th, the Canes are now hosting a battle between Tate Martell and N’Kosi Perry for the backup role. However, Enos doesn’t necessarily see this decision as “the end” of the QB competition.
“I’ve been around so many different situations where guys get banged up or whatever happens and guys get an opportunity at some point," Enos said. "We told all three of them `Just continue to improve.’ Jarren is our starter and we’re behind him, but those other two have to prepare like they’re the starter every game in case they’re called upon to have to play.”
On if either Martell or Perry will now transfer: “If they’re in the room every day, I’ll coach them,” Enos said.
Of true freshman QB Peyton Matocha, Enos feels he is progressing well and noted that Matocha led a 99-yard TD drive in the scrimmage.
“He’s a big guy, he can run,” Enos said of Matocha. “He’s a developmental guy, will improve and put himself in a position to play.”